Sunday, April 20, 2008

There's not much you can't improvise...

I now join fellow improvbloggers Jared, Scott and Jess in bitching about being a homeowner. 

Reassured by Jared's adventures in Home Repair, I bought the same book he got, plus a bunch of other minor tool-related stuff, and started pulling my bathroom apart. 

I've been in this BRAND NEW condo for just little over three years. So it seems a little odd when the hardwood flooring in my seldom-used guest bathroom started warping—kinda like a kiddie roller coaster. For my first go at it, I just looked up "removing hardwood floors"—then went in to get started and realized it would also mean removing the toilet, baseboards, door jamb and some tile. 

In about an hour, I've drained and removed the toilet (that part was easy) revealing the unsealed hardwood floors that have been sucking up water for the last three and a quarter years. GREAT. Baseboards—and what cheap-ass pieces of crap they are—are also out. So I'm finally to the floors. I can't WAIT to see what's under there. 

On the list at Home Depot: Goggles, mask and heavy-duty gloves. Sometimes I miss being a tenant instead of a homeowner. Opening a beer and going in.


Mother. PUSS. Bucket.

Apparently the only thing holding my bathroom together is the industrial-strength adhesive. It took me half an hour—using a chisel+prybar+mallet—just to get the first piece of wood out. I'm having to start by the door and work my way to the part where the hardwoods are separating from what I now believe to be plywood subflooring.

Bet that's glued to the f-ing concrete, too. This sucks. 


Back from Run to Home Depot #2. This time I have a circular saw. Saw my next door neighbor on the way in—warned him there was about to be some power tool noise, mallet-hammering and most likely a good deal of off-color language.


A little less than 1/3 of the hardwoods are up. They're actually not that badly damaged—some spotty mildew on the bottoms, but not so bad otherwise. 

The subflooring? That's the fun part. It's hard to get the hardwood popped off in places because the plywood underneath is like sponge. 

Because of water. 

From the toilet.

So if you've ever used my guest bathroom...I'm pulling up 1/2" plywood with your pee on it, probably.

Even worse—if that's possible—is using the circular saw. Besides the fact that it keeps setting off the fire alarm, the kickback is so brutal I've come close to running over my foot three or four times. So I'll be resting a bit before I make another cut, because it I think it would be difficult to drive myself to the emergency room WITHOUT A FOOT. 


A little bit more floor is up. I've ripped my carpet (thank you, kickback), sprouted a blister, beaten my hand with a mallet repeatedly...and now hit the point where I can't get the hardwood pieces off the subflooring because it's sticking to them. 

So I'm writing to my builders to express my disappointment, calling general contractors to get bids on finishing the job, and taking the power saw back to Home Depot where it belongs.

I give.


  1. *wince* Oh....oh that sucks. Um...virtual milkshake?

  2. Thank you for the milkshake! It hit the spot.

    The good news: Less than two hours after I sent my builders an informational e-mail with lots of pictures and no demands, I was copied on this email from the business guy to the builder guy: "I hope you'll address this problem immediately and whatever is our responsibility you will take care of it."

    My faith in humankind is on the way to being totally restored.

  3. Heh. It wasn't improvisors who coined the term "Measure twice, cut once" :)


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